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Kentucky Red Beans and Rice Topped with Crispy Country Ham

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  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 2 hr 15 min (plus soaking time)
  • Active: 55 min
  • Yield: 8 to 12 servings
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Red Beans:

5 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 medium onion, small diced (about 2 cups) 

1 red pepper, small diced (about 1 cup) 

2 stalks celery, small diced (about 1 cup) 

1/4 cup chopped pecans 

1 tablespoon Cajun/Creole seasoning 

2 teaspoons garlic powder 

1 teaspoon ground thyme 

1 teaspoon ground white pepper 

2 dried bay leaves 

1 pound kidney beans, soaked for 24 hours 

1 tablespoon hot sauce 

1 teaspoon liquid smoke 

Kosher salt and coarsely ground black pepper 

Kosher salt and coarsely ground black pepper


2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 cup long-grain rice 

1 head Roasted Garlic, removed from skins, recipe follows

1/2 teaspoon liquid smoke 

Kosher salt 

1/4 pound thinly sliced country ham 

Roasted Garlic:

1 head garlic

1 teaspoon olive oil 

Kosher salt and coarsely ground black pepper

Kosher salt and coarsely ground black pepper 


  1. For the beans: Melt the butter in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Once it is melted, add the onions, pepper and celery and saute until tender, about 5 minutes. Add the pecans and saute until they are dark brown, 2 to 3 minutes more. Add the Cajun/Creole seasoning, garlic powder, ground thyme, white pepper and bay leaves. Stir to coat. Add the beans and 8 cups of water. Cover and cook over medium heat until the beans are just about to be al dente, 75 to 90 minutes. Uncover, stir in the hot sauce and liquid smoke and cook until the sauce thickens, the beans are tender and the liquid has reduced by half, about 20 minutes more.
  2. For the rice: Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.
  3. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Once it is melted, add the rice, Roasted Garlic, liquid smoke and 1/2 teaspoon salt and stir to combine. Saute over medium heat until all the rice is coated with butter. Add 1 1/2 cups warm water and bring to a boil, about 2 minutes. Cover, reduce the heat to low and cook until tender and the water is absorbed, 18 to 22 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork before serving.
  4. Lay out the country ham slices on a baking sheet and bake until crispy, 15 to 25 minutes, depending on the thickness of your ham. Set aside until cool enough to crumble for garnish.
  5. Remove the bay leaves from the bean pot. Season the beans with salt and pepper, to taste. Serve over the rice. Garnish with the crumbled country ham.

Roasted Garlic:

Yield: 1 head garlic
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Cut the top off of the garlic head, exposing the cloves but leaving the head intact. Set the head on a large piece of foil, drizzle with the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Wrap up the foil to make a pouch and bake until the garlic soft and roasted, 35 to 40 minutes. Let cool before using.
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